Law enforcement agencies to collect unused medications Saturday

TOPEKA – (October 23, 2017) – Law enforcement officers at locations across the state will be collecting unused leftover medications for safe disposal on Saturday, October 28, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

The collection events are part of a nationwide effort to safely dispose of leftover medications to prevent accidental or intentional misuse. Since the Drug Take-Back Day program began in 2010, more than 58 tons of unwanted medications have been collected and destroyed in Kansas alone.

“Unused medications are dangerous for kids, pets and the environment,” Schmidt said. “Diversion of opioid painkillers, in particular, can contribute to the misuse of these drugs that has become a serious nationwide problem. Getting leftover medicines out of the medicine cabinets and safely destroyed keeps them from falling into the wrong hands and makes our communities safer.”

Medications will be accepted at drop-off sites across the state from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. To find a location, visit www.ag.ks.gov.

The National Drug Take-Back Day is coordinated by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which collects and safely destroys the medications.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates opioid overdoses kill 91 Americans every day. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, pharmaceutical opioids are a leading cause of drug poisoning deaths in Kansas. The CDC says the number of opioid prescriptions has quadrupled since 1999, despite Americans reporting a steady amount of pain.

Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that traditional methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose potential safety and health hazards and should be avoided.

Unused prescriptions can be turned in year-round at many local law enforcement locations. Kansans should contact their local sheriff’s office or police department for more information.

AG Derek Schmidt, Chief Judge Van Hampton to host exhibit on the Magna Carta

DODGE CITY – (October 23, 2017) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Chief Judge Van Z. Hampton will host a local display on the history of the Magna Carta – the 13th century document that set the course for democracy in England, and greatly influenced democracy in the United States.

The exhibit will be on display in the lobby of the Ford County Government Center during the month of November. School classes, youth groups, civic clubs and members of the public are invited to visit the display during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“While the Magna Carta began as a series of grievances from barons in medieval England, the fundamental rights that were laid out in that document were later echoed in our own Declaration of Independence, and have been symbolic of liberty and democracy,” Schmidt said. “I encourage civic clubs, educators and other interested citizens to use this opportunity to discuss our civic history and to engage in learning about the precious system of self-government we have inherited from those who came before.”

The Magna Carta has also had great influence on the development of laws.

“This is an opportunity for everyone to be reminded about the origin and effects of the Magna Carta. Its importance and influence in the structure of the government of the United States cannot be overstated,” Judge Hampton said. “There are many provisions expressed in the ‘Great Charter’ that recognize and protect the rights of the people. The greatest principles derived from the issuance of the Magna Carta are that the power of the sovereign is limited, the people have rights that the government must honor and preserve (including trial by jury), and those that govern are themselves subject to the rule of law. I sincerely hope that everyone who is able will come and observe this display that we are privileged to host.”

Schmidt and Hampton encouraged all local residents, and particularly students, to visit the display and learn more about the Magna Carta’s legacy. The attorney general and the judge also said they would help arrange presentations about civics and the rule of law for civic clubs, school groups and other interested organizations. Those interested in requesting a presentation may contact Lucy Cordero by phone at 620-227-4561 or by email at lcordero@16thdistrict.net.

The exhibit was produced by the American Bar Association in honor of the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary in 2015. Although that anniversary has passed, the exhibit is on traveling display. More information about the display and the Magna Carta is available on the attorney general’s website at www.ag.ks.gov/magna-carta.

AG Derek Schmidt: Missouri roofer ordered to refund Johnson County consumers, Abilene roofer banned from Kansas

TOPEKA – (October 17, 2017) – A Missouri roofer has been ordered to repay more than $22,000 to two Johnson County consumers, and an Abilene roofer has been banned from performing roofing services in Kansas after violating Kansas consumer protection laws, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

Jason Stewart, Raymore, Missouri, and his businesses, APEX Contracting and Roofing, LLC, and APEX C&R, LLC, have been ordered to repay two Johnson County consumers a total of $22,174.30. District Judge Larry Hendricks approved a consent judgment last week in Shawnee County District Court. Stewart was accused of accepting payment from the two consumers for roofing services that were never performed. The defendant also failed to register as a roofing contractor as required by the Kansas Roofing Registration Act (KRRA). In addition to the consumer restitution, Stewart was ordered to pay a $10,000 civil penalty and to fully comply with Kansas consumer protection and roofing registration laws in the future.

Jesse Howard, doing business as Jesse Howard Roofing, has been banned from performing roofing services in the state and ordered to pay a $2,500 civil penalty for violating the KRRA. District Judge Ryan W. Rosauer approved the judgment last week in Dickinson County District Court. The defendant was accused of accepting payment from a consumer in September 2015 for roofing services that were never performed. He also was accused of failing to register as a roofing contractor as required by the KRRA. A separate, private lawsuit was brought against Howard by the homeowner, and a default judgment was granted after Howard failed to respond to the lawsuit. Howard has therefore already been ordered to pay restitution to the consumer.

Schmidt also announced he has entered into consent judgments with three other roofing contractors for violations of the KRRA. The settlements require the companies to pay civil penalties for KRRA violations and, in some cases, restitution to consumers. They also require the companies to comply with the KRRA when providing roofing services in the future. The three roofing contractors fined are:

  • Entrepreneurs Enterprises, LLC, Johnson County District Court, Case No. 2017-CV-4431
  • All the Above, LLC, Johnson County District Court, Case No. 2017-CV-4676
  • Roof Missouri, LLC, Shawnee County District Court, Case No. 2017-CV-616

In each case, Schmidt alleged the defendants engaged in advertising, soliciting or performing roofing contractor services in Kansas without registering with the attorney general’s office as required by the KRRA. Copies of the consent judgments are available at www.ag.ks.gov/roofer-enforcement.

Schmidt reminded consumers to make sure roofing contractors are properly registered before signing any contract or having any work done. Consumers should request a copy of their roofer’s registration certificate and then should check the attorney general’s consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org to confirm that the roofer’s registration is in good standing.

Former Idaho Insurance Agent Sentenced for Misappropriating Client Premiums

Date: November 14, 2017

Former Idaho Insurance Agent Sentenced for Misappropriating Client Premiums

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced the successful prosecution of an Idahoan accused of using customers’ insurance premiums for personal purchases.

On Monday, November 13, a judge in Twin Falls County sentenced 49-year-old Mark J. Lee to jail, probation, and ordered him to pay restitution.

Judge Ronald Wilper sentenced Lee to a prison term of one year fixed and four years indeterminate. The prison sentence was then suspended. The judge ordered Lee to serve 30 days in jail and pay $1,801 in restitution. He was also sentenced to five years felony probation.

Lee, a former insurance agent, pleaded guilty in September to misappropriation or diversion of fiduciary funds. The plea came after an Idaho Department of Insurance investigation revealed Lee had diverted clients’ insurance premiums for his own use while he was an Idaho licensed insurance producer in Twin Falls. The fraud was discovered by a client when the client was informed by the insurance company that the policy had lapsed for nonpayment. The client then filed a complaint with the Department of Insurance. Lee’s license to sell insurance was subsequently revoked.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Jessica Cafferty of the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit.

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Idaho Falls Woman Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud

Date: November 9, 2017

Idaho Falls Woman Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced the successful prosecution of a Bonneville County woman for defrauding the Idaho Medicaid Program.

On Wednesday, Seventh District Judge Darren B. Simpson sentenced 33-year-old Tiffany A. Larsen of Idaho Falls after she pleaded guilty on September 21 to executing a Medicaid fraud scheme.

Judge Simpson sentenced Larsen to two years fixed and up to five years in prison. The court suspended the prison sentence and ordered Larsen to immediately serve 75 days in the Bonneville County Jail, pay $1,431 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service. She was also placed on probation for five years.

An investigation determined the defendant submitted a series of falsified progress notes that were used as a basis to submit claims for services through Larsen’s employer, Qualicare. The company discovered and reported the fraud to authorities. The company has returned all Medicaid payments associated with the fraud and fully cooperated with the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Ken Robins of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

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Attorney General Investigators Arrest Idaho Falls Men for Alleged Sexual Crimes against Children

Date: November 9, 2017

Attorney General Investigators Arrest Idaho Falls Men for Alleged Sexual Crimes against Children

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced investigators with his Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit arrested two Idaho Falls men Wednesday for alleged sexual crimes against children.

35-year-old Bryon Lee Moore and 33-year-old Brandon Jay Rydalch were booked into the Bonneville County Jail. Moore was arrested for alleged Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Lewd Conduct with a Minor Child Under 16. Rydalch was arrested for alleged Sexual Exploitation of a Child.

An investigation began in June 2017 when investigators discovered Moore allegedly downloading child pornography over peer-to-peer networks. Investigators obtained a search warrant for Moore’s Idaho Falls residence and executed the warrant Wednesday morning.

The ICAC Unit was assisted by the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho Falls Police Department.

Anyone with information regarding the exploitation of children is encouraged to contact local police, the Attorney General’s ICAC Unit at 208-334-4527 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

The Attorney General’s ICAC Unit works with the Idaho ICAC Task Force, a coalition of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, to investigate and prosecute individuals who use the internet to criminally exploit children.

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Attorney General Lawrence Wasden Announces Idaho’s Participation in $220 Million Multistate Settlement with Deutsche Bank over LIBOR Manipulation

Date: October 25, 2017

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden Announces Idaho’s Participation in $220 Million Multistate Settlement with Deutsche Bank over LIBOR Manipulation

(BOISE) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today announced a $220 million settlement with Deutsche Bank for its alleged fraudulent manipulation of LIBOR. LIBOR – an acronym for London Interbank Offered Rate – is a benchmark interest rate that affects financial instruments worth trillions of dollars and has a global impact on markets and consumers.

Affected governmental and non-profit entities will be notified if they are eligible to receive a distribution from a settlement fund of $213.35 million. The rest of the settlement funds will be used to pay costs and expenses of the investigation and for other uses consistent with states’ laws.

“The LIBOR manipulation represents one of the largest financial scandals ever,” Wasden said. “It hurt entities in Idaho, which affected taxpayers around the state. What Deutsche Bank did was very wrong, but this settlement is a step towards making amends for those transgressions.”

LIBOR is used to establish interest rates on all types of loans worldwide, which means the rate can impact municipal financial investments and bonds, adjustable rate loans, mortgages and student loans.

Forty-five state attorneys general participated in the investigation that revealed that Deutsche Bank manipulated LIBOR several ways. Bank employees improperly made internal requests for LIBOR submissions to benefit Deutsche Bank’s trading positions. They also attempted to influence other banks’ LIBOR submissions in a way meant to benefit Deutsche Bank’s trading positions. Employees also received communications from inter-dealer brokers and external traders attempting to influence Deutsche Bank’s LIBOR submissions. At times, Deutsche Bank LIBOR submitters and supervisors acknowledged the requests and indicated they would work to implement them.

Given this conduct, Deutsche Bank LIBOR submitters and management had strong reason to believe that Deutsche Bank’s and other banks’ LIBOR submissions did not reflect their true borrowing rates. They also had reason to think the LIBOR rates submitted by the banks did not reflect the actual borrowing costs of Deutsche Bank and other banks.

The investigation also revealed that Deutsche Bank employees did not disclose these facts to the governmental and non-profit entities with whom Deutsche Bank executed LIBOR-referenced transactions, even though these rates were key parts of the transactions. Government entities and non-profit organizations throughout the U.S., including in Idaho, were defrauded millions of dollars when they entered into swaps and other investment instruments with Deutsche Bank, unaware of the LIBOR manipulation.

Deutsche Bank is the second of several LIBOR-setting banks under investigation by state attorneys general to cooperate with investigators and settle allegations against it. The first settlement – with British bank Barclays – totaled $100 million and occurred in August 2016. The investigation into the conduct of several other banks is ongoing.

The settlement can be viewed here.

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Wasden Announces Idaho’s Portion of $120 Million Multistate Settlement with General Motors over Defective Ignition Equipment

Date: October 19, 2017

Wasden Announces Idaho’s Portion of $120 Million Multistate Settlement with General Motors over Defective Ignition Equipment

(BOISE) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today a $120 million settlement with General Motors Company (GM) over allegations it concealed ignition safety problems in its vehicles.

The automaker reached the settlement with attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia. It concludes a multistate investigation into GM’s failure to disclose known safety defects in several vehicle models and model years.

“General Motors and other automakers should keep their customers’ safety at the forefront of everything they do,” Wasden said. “And when there is a problem, car companies must be transparent and act quickly. Automakers should recognize that if they fail in this regard, states will be ready to take action.”

Idaho’s share of the settlement is just over $1,247,000.

In 2014, GM issued seven vehicle recalls in response to unintended key rotation-related and/or ignition switch-related issues, which affected more than nine million vehicles in the U.S. The recalls involved a defective ignition switch which, under certain conditions, could move out of the “Run” position to the “Accessory” or “Off” position. When this occurred, drivers experienced a loss of electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes. The problem could also result in a vehicle’s airbags failing to deploy.

State investigators have alleged that some GM employees knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect. However, GM personnel delayed issuing a recall. The company continued to market the reliability and safety of its vehicles which were equipped with the defective ignition switch.

Wasden alleged that these actions were unfair and deceptive and that the automaker’s actions violated Idaho’s Consumer Protection Act.

Under a consent judgment, which will be submitted to the Ada County District Court in Boise, GM shall:

  • Not represent that a motor vehicle is “safe” unless the company has complied with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards applicable to the motor vehicle at issue.
  • Not represent that certified pre-owned vehicles that the company advertises are safe, have been repaired for safety issues, or have been subject to rigorous inspection, unless the vehicles are not subject to any open recalls relating to safety or have been repaired pursuant to such a recall.
  • Instruct its dealers that all applicable recall repairs must be completed before any GM motor vehicle sold in the U.S. and included in a recall is eligible for certification and, if there is a recall on any certified pre-owned vehicle sold in the U.S., the required repair must be completed before the vehicle is delivered to a customer.

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Washington Woman Sentenced for Insurance Fraud

Date: October 16, 2017

Washington Woman Sentenced for Insurance Fraud

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced the successful prosecution of a former Idahoan accused of Insurance Fraud.

On Thursday, October 12, First District Judge Scott Wayman sentenced 32-year-old Nora Washburn of Spokane, formerly of Rathdrum, Idaho, after a jury convicted her of Insurance Fraud in June.

Judge Wayman sentenced Washburn to 1 ½ to four years in prison. She was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $4721, with $3697 to be paid to Progressive Insurance and $1024 to the Idaho Department of Insurance. Washburn will also be responsible for paying court costs.

An investigation determined the defendant purchased auto insurance from Progressive on January 29, 2016. Seven days later, she filed a claim due to an accident she said occurred on February 1. Investigators determined the accident actually occurred on January 2, approximately four weeks before the Progressive policy took effect. The crime occurred in Kootenai County.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General David Morse of the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit.

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Oregon Joins 11 States to Oppose Increased Fees at National Parks

Oregon joined a coalition of 11 state Attorneys General to send a letter to the National Park Service (NPS) opposing their proposal to dramatically increase entrance fees at 17 popular national parks. Under the proposal, the per vehicle entrance fees during peak season would increase to $70, from the current fee of $25 or $30. Motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian fees would also increase.

See 2017-11-22 NPS Entrance Fees Letter.